Liposuction is a technique to remove unwanted fat. It can also be referred to a liposculpture. Most people have a genetic predisposition to deposit fat in certain areas, eg: thighs, buttocks, neck, abdomen and arms, knees and ankles. In addition, some men with "man boobs" (gynaecomastia) request liposuction in their chest region to achieve a more masculine appearance. See male chest reduction.

Liposuction is a useful technique for removing localised deposits of fat.

How will I look after the surgery?

You will be bruised, swollen and sore. Swelling can take a while to disappear so you may not see the finished results for around six months. You may experience a degree of numbness in the skin in the region treated. You will have small scars at the site where the metal liposuction tube was inserted, but in most people they become barely visible after a while.

How long will the results last?

Once you are an adult, you cannot generate new fat cells. Therefore, the fat cells that are removed cannot come back, so you should keep your new contour. However, fat cells that remain can expand in size, so you would be advised to maintain your pre operation weight. A nice expensive pair of designer jeans that you wear regularly is a good way to make sure you don't gain any weight.

How much fat can be removed at once?

It is advised that no more than three litres of fat be removed from an area at once. You should be aware that liposuction is not an alternative to weight loss, but a method of spot removal of fat. Sometimes liposuction in the abdominal area can leave loose skin behind which then needs to be excised - instead of liposuction you may wish to consider abdominoplasty (a tummy tuck) in this region.

Can liposuction be used as a way of losing weight?

No, liposuction is used to spot reduce fat from stubborn areas, not for general all over weight loss. If you need to lose weight, you should see your doctor about starting a sensible eating plan and doing additional exercise. If you are obese (you have a BMI of 30 or more, or 28 or more with additional health problems such as type II diabetes), your doctor may consider prescribing you a slimming drug to help you to lose weight. The current slimming drugs approved by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in the UK) are Xenical and Reductil.

How will I feel after the operation?

liposuction pressure garmentMost cases of liposuction require a general anaesthetic. You will probably need to take some standard painkillers (eg paracetamol) after surgery. Liposuction of the hips, bottom, thighs or abdomen necessitates the wearing of a pressure garment to reduce bruising and swelling. It can however be removed to allow bathing. You may be anaemic after the operation and need to take iron tablets.

What are the risks?

  • General risks of a general anaesthetic including deep vein thrombosis.
  • Infection, although this is quite rare.
  • An irregular surface contour of the skin (lumpy looking skin) over the area treated.